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UK follows Stoops' lead, uses mail to recruit fans

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UK collected 50,000 signatures from coaches and staff for a season ticket mailing campaign. (Photo via @UK_KFund on Twitter) UK collected 50,000 signatures from coaches and staff for a season ticket mailing campaign. (Photo via @UK_KFund on Twitter)
During the summer, the Joe Craft Center is supposed to be relatively quiet as coaches and staff recharge between sports seasons.

But for two days in early July, visitors would have never known. On Friday, July 5 and Monday, July 8, the hub of UK Athletics was home to a flurry of activity.

Tables and dozens of chairs were set up the lobby for two separate "parties," but staffers weren't gathering for a birthday or some other celebration. Instead, employees from all over campus joined in a collective effort to "recruit" football season ticket holders. Taking a cue from Mark Stoops and his staff, the UK marketing department collected five signatures on 10,000 cards.

To accomplish the momentous task, nearly everyone - including myself - grabbed a stack of cards and signed. Rachel Lawson brought her entire staff over from the softball offices. John Robic emerged from men's basketball to take a big handful. National champion rifle head coach Harry Mullins kept his seat until the final cards had five signatures.

Jen Smith from the Lexington Herald-Leader has the story:

That's 50,000 signatures that ranged from athletics high rollers like basketball coach John Calipari and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart all the way to "Kathy in the business office," (Assistant Athletics Director of Marketing and Licensing Nathan) Schwake said of Kathy Fletcher, an accountant.

There were more than a handful of different messages that went out to a select list of about 5,000 fans, mostly young alumni and previous season ticket holders who didn't renew dating to 2009.

Some will get 10 letters, some will get 20 letters and a select few will get 50 or more letters.

One card says: "We know you've got what it takes. Be early. Wear blue. Get loud."

Another adds: "Coach Stoops is recruiting the best players. We're recruiting the best fans. We want you on board for 2013 and beyond."

The campaign is the latest in a continuing effort to capitalize on the social-media presence of the Big Blue Nation. Just like with Super Bowl commercial and magazine ads in Sports Illustrated and Time, UK is relying on fans who received mail to spread the word.
"We're trying to focus on things that are going to make an impact, that are worth more than the actual value of the project," Schwake told Smith. "Hopefully some additional buzz that's created will be worth the cost."
A tweet like this one is a good start.

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